What are your biggest motivators in life?
For the most part, I think motivation can be overrated. As someone who has struggled with mental health issues my whole life, motivation isn’t always possible to conjure up. One common quality of depression is “adhedonia” which means the inability to find enjoyment in regularly pleasurable activities. How can you find motivation if you’re too worn down to give a fuck? Replace motivation with discipline. You aren’t always going to feel motivated, you aren’t always going to want to do the thing – do it anyways! You can’t rely on external factors. The impetus comes from within. I’m motivated by wanting to be the best version of myself. And I can’t be that if I’m lying in bed. I am motivated by the assholes who have confused my depressive-episodes with laziness. I am motivated by people putting limits on me. Thinking they need to talk to me in a certain way, looking down on me with fragility. Tip toeing around my brain chemistry – it drives me to prove them wrong. More so to prove it to myself that they’re wrong because it’s so difficult not to internalize other people’s opinions of you. Another great motivator has been my time spent around the an ‘aging population’ where I’ve seen suffering, dementia and just poor quality of life. I want to optimize my human experience; it motivates me to look into the future and know that movement, eating fresh whole foods, tending to my mental well-beingand mitigating illness will allow me to get older, but continue to thrive. I’m mostly motivated by a deep self-love, not to be confused with egoism. I respect myself too much to succumb to mediocrity. In terms of work, I am motivated extrinsically, by wanting to help others; plain and simple. It always keeps me going to know that what I do may better someone’s life.
What has your fitness journey been like?
It’s been a rollercoaster – I found fitness on my nineteenth birthday. I had never exercised aside from mandatory gym classes, and I was eating fast food almost daily. But I was under 100 pounds so I thought I was fine! I was walking passed World Health, on my way to McDonald’s on MacLeod and the “$20 bi-weekly, no enrollment fees!” sign jumped at me. I had been feeling like garbage, so I thought “Why not?” I signed up, got a trainer and never looked back. I fell off a few times, I slacked through a few workouts, I said fuck this more than once or twice. But holy shit, it makes me feel so good! Of course, building a physique you’re proud of feels good, but I mean the neurotransmitter and endogenous high is unparalleled. We all love the endorphin rush, but if you’re struggling with anxiety or depression (etc.) especially, you need to be exercising – take your medication, eat a diet of brain supportive food, go to counselling – whatever else you need, but exercising is non-negotiable in the treatment plan. It changed my life, rid me of panic attacks, allows me an hour or more where I can’t ruminate or worry, and then the after effects carry me through the day. I started off just doing your standard body-building splits with a trainer, then moved to Olympic lifting, then to CrossFit and now I incorporate spin, hot yoga and the oh-so-trendy boxing fad when I can, too. Weight-lifting empowered me, gave me a confidence I never had. Honestly, doing a clean and jerk, a weighted pull up or a heavy ass deadlift just makes me feel superhuman. And so grateful that my body is able to perform these movements. It is my therapy, my catharsis.
Hand-in-hand with fitness, I went on to pursue an education in Holistic Nutrition. It was amazing to learn the effects that food can have on your physical and mental health. I was attempting to out-train a bad diet, but a few days into my course, I cleaned my act right up! If you need some inspiration that you can change bad habits, believe me when I say my diet consisted of five cent candies, chips, Wendy’s/McDonald’s, Coca-Cola in disturbing amounts, Tim Horton’s donuts and tubs of Ben and Jerry’s. Now, I treat those things as just that – treats! I love having a burger or some ice cream now and then, but at least now I know how to incorporate them into a flexible diet and I genuinely crave whole foods. If you need to improve your mental health, look at what you’re eating (or nutrients you’re not eating). It is incredible how drastically it can affect the brain.
What is your WHY?
To heal others. I know that is my purpose in this crazy, wild life. I have experienced some truly fucked up things; I have been hurt, manipulated, heartbroken and abused. I have struggled with mental health issues, I’ve stood on the edge of questioning my own existence. I know I have been put through the ringer so that I can empower others to rise above their circumstances. To teach and to lead by experience. No matter what cards you’re dealt, you still have to play – taking ownership of my life and ditching the victim mentality has opened me up to being transparent with my experiences so that others can say “She did it, so can I.” I don’t want anyone to feel limited, to feel hopeless. Every day I have a message from someone thanking me for my honesty about my experiences and my struggles; I am humbled that people come to me for advice, for help or to tell me something they never felt courageous enough to tell anyone else. I remember reading that Nicolette means “The people’s victory” and that has always stayed with me. I want everyone to be a victor in their life. I love watching people thrive in spite of it all, I love watching people grow, become better, stronger, happier, healthier versions of themselves. I never even know what to call myself. A coach? Sure. I’m just someone who is compelled to lead people on the rocky paths I’ve already travelled, and help them find the always-present light in the darkest of times.
How do you plan to impact your community by being a Boss Babe?
I love Calgary’s community! It is so supportive and collaborative. Right now, I’m in the process of launching The Comeback Club – a four week program combining nutrition, fitness, self-care and mental health. Each week will have it’s own relevant meet-up component in collaboration with another local business or entrepreneur. The meet up will allow everyone to meet offline, in person where real connections are formed. I just want everyone to feel so supported, accountable, to feel seen and heard on their journey towards self-improvement. I hope this only furthers the Calgary bond! Eventually I’d love to extend this program globally, because we’re all just one big community at the end of the day! I want my impact to be that I leave people better than I found them.
What does being a Boss Babe mean to you?
It means being a supportive woman that builds others up, and doesn’t subscribe to a scarcity mentality. There’s no competition, there’s room for everyone and I want to see us all kick ass and take names! Being a Boss Babe means unwavering integrity, it means never losing sight of what really matters; my business is people driven, not money driven. I want to genuinely help others! I want to spread a message, start a movement, end a stigma, instill empowerment, watch people rise. It means knowing I can’t do it alone. Not getting carried away by this strong, independent woman mentality. I need help, from men and women alike. That is why we have collaboration, community, tribe. It means knowing that happiness is an inside job. No paycheck, person or plane ticket will fulfill you. It means adhering to my core values, even when it might be easier to abandon them. To speak up even if my voice shakes. Being a leader, not a “boss” (in the traditional sense of the word). One ruthlessly dictates, the other gets in the trenches alongside the troops. It means being someone I would want to meet, someone I would want to work with, someone I would be proud to stand by.
What is one thing you would tell your younger self that was just starting out?
Just start, dammit! You make a lot of excuses, you doubt yourself, you think you aren’t worthy, you think people are judging you. Everything you’re afraid of is a narrative you made up. You’re scared of a paper tiger, as the old adage says. You don’t need to wait for more education, more money, better circumstances, the right time – the right time never comes! Just start where you are, with what you have. OH! And for God’s sake, stop placing your self-worth in other people’s hands.
How do you keep a positive mindset and keep the haters out?
Reading The Four Agreements helped me so much. It basically reminds you that most of your suffering is self-inflicted, based on fictional assumed circumstances you ruminate in your mind. I also stay positive by reminding myself of the law of attraction (listening to Alan Watts, Ester Hicks, Lisa Nichols) – call it “hokey, new age spiritual bullshit” but for all you logical minded readers, it’s just quantum physics. You simply cannot get a positive outcome from a negative thought. Be picky with your thoughts! It’s hard, it’s so hard and believe me, I am NOT always positive. It’s difficult, but what’s the price you pay? You become happier because you had to try a little harder to reach for a better feeling thought than the one you’re torturing yourself with? Seems worth the effort to me! You’ll slip. But, just keep resetting. You can have everything you want, it’s just that your mind tends to lie to you about that. Remember that the human brain, from an evolutionary standpoint, is wired to find the danger (negativity) in every situation. It’s survival instincts! So, it’s not your fault. But it is your responsibility to override that setting. You can’t leap from depressed to ecstatic, so just try to feel better. Does anger feel better than sadness? Go there for now then. Be kind to yourself, ease your way up the happiness ladder. And always look for something to be appreciative of, it really does shift your perspective. Even when you’re swimming in debt, your heart Is broken, your GPA is plummeting remember you’re reading this from a device that’s worth someone’s yearly salary in another country. Don’t take this all too seriously, life is meant to be fun. As for haters, I’m pretty fortunate not to have any (and if I do, they are not outspoken), but here is my advice. Nothing other people do or say is because of you – it’s all a projection, a reflection of their own reality, their perspective. Like I said previously, you can’t internalize people’s bullshit. What others think of you isn’t fact, it’s opinion. Just meet your “haters” with compassion – people who are shitting on other people’s lives are obviously fighting a hard internal battle they need to unleash on others because keeping it in is burden somely excruciating. Pour love their way, and then block them haha!